My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance is an American rock band from New Jersey, formed in 2001. The band consists of lead vocalist Gerard Way, guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero, and bassist Mikey Way and have a diverse sound incorporating elements of gothic rock, punk, heavy metal, glam rock and metal, and progressive rock. Shortly after forming, the band signed to Eyeball Records and released their debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love in 2002. They signed with Reprise Records the next year and released their major label debut Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge in 2004; the album was a commercial success, and was awarded platinum status a little over a year later. The band eclipsed their previous success with their 2006 concept album, The Black Parade, which gained generally favorable reviews among music critics. Their fourth studio album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, was released on November 22, 2010, to positive reviews.


Early career (2001–2002)

The band was formed by frontman Gerard Way and drummer Matt Pelissier approximately one week after the September 11 attacks. Witnessing the planes crash into the World Trade Center influenced Way's life to the extent that he decided to start a band. Way wrote the song "Skylines and Turnstiles" to express his feelings about September 11 and shortly thereafter, Ray Toro was recruited because at the time Way couldn't sing and play the guitar at the same time. The name of the band was suggested by bass guitarist Mikey Way, younger brother of Gerard, who was working in a library when he was struck by the title of a book named Ecstacy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance. The first recording sessions were undertaken in Pelissier's attic, where the songs "Our Lady of Sorrows" (formerly called "Bring More Knives") and "Cubicles" were recorded. The band refers to those sessions as The Attic Demos.[citation needed] After hearing the demo, Mikey Way decided to join the band after dropping out of college. While with Eyeball Records, the band met Frank Iero, the lead vocalist and guitarist for Pencey Prep. Following Pencey Prep's split in 2001-02, Iero became a member of My Chemical Romance, just days prior to the recording of the band's debut album. They recorded their debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, just three months after the formation of the band and released it in 2002 through Eyeball Records. Despite only joining the band a few days before the album recording sessions began, Iero played guitar on two of the tracks, one of which being "Early Sunsets Over Monroeville." During this time, the band was booked at the infamous venue, Big Daddy's, where they began to receive more attention.

My Chemical Romance offered free downloads through PureVolume and the social networking website MySpace, where they gained an initial fan base.

Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2003–2006)

In 2003, the band signed a deal with Reprise Records. Following a tour with Avenged Sevenfold, the band began working on their second album, entitled Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Released in 2004, the album went platinum in just over a year. The band released four singles from the album; "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)", "Thank You for the Venom", "Helena" and "The Ghost of You". It was during this time that the band replaced Matt Pelissier with Bob Bryar, after returning from a tour of Japan in July 2004.

At the beginning of 2005, the band was featured on the first ever Taste of Chaos tour, and was also the opening act for Green Day on their American Idiot tour. They then co-headlined Warped Tour 2005 with Fall Out Boy and co-headlined a tour with Alkaline Trio and Reggie and the Full Effect around the US. That same year, My Chemical Romance collaborated with The Used for a cover of the Queen and David Bowie classic, "Under Pressure" that was released as a benefit single on iTunes and other Internet outlets.

In March 2006, record entitled Life on the Murder Scene was released, incorporating two DVDs and a CD. It included one documentary DVD chronicling the band's history, and a second DVD with music videos, the making of their videos and live performances. An unauthorized biography DVD Things That Make You Go MMM! was also released In June 2006. The DVD does not actually feature any My Chemical Romance music clips or performances, but contains interviews with those who knew the band before much of their fame. A biography titled Something Incredible This Way Comes was also released, written by Paul Stenning and published in 2006. It features their beginnings right through to their third album, The Black Parade.

The Black Parade (2006–2008)

Announcement of The Black Parade at London Hammersmith Palais

My Chemical Romance started recording their third studio album on April 10, 2006 with Rob Cavallo, producer of many of Green Day's albums. It was originally thought to be titled The Rise and Fall of My Chemical Romance, but in an interview with Kerrang! magazine, Gerard Way suggested this was just the album's working title, stating "It was never the title of the album, more a spoof, or joke."

On August 3, 2006, the band completed shooting the videos for their first two singles from the album; including the first single, "Welcome to the Black Parade" and although not released until January 2007, "Famous Last Words". The "Famous Last Words" video was directed by Sam Bayer, director of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Green Day's American Idiot videos. During the second single's filming, band members Gerard Way and Bob Bryar were injured. Way suffered torn ligaments in his ankle, and Bryar a burn to the leg which caused a severe staph infection that needed constant monitoring in hospital.[citation needed] Consequently, the band was forced to cancel a few tour dates. While these injuries were reported by several news agencies to have been the result of a car accident, a statement released by the band on their website and MySpace page confirmed that these injuries occurred on the set of the video.

On August 22, 2006, the band played a special one-off show at the 1800-capacity London Hammersmith Palais. The show sold out in 15 minutes prompting tickets to be re-sold on eBay well over the tickets' face value. The name of the album they promoted was announced and 20 people dressed in black capes with their faces obscured paraded around Hammersmith, followed by a large group of fans and street team members with signs saying The Black Parade. Later during the show the album title and the UK release date were confirmed. Before the band took the stage, it was announced that My Chemical Romance were unable to play, but they would be replaced by The Black Parade. After initial crowd hostility it became clear the band were simply performing under a pseudonym in keeping with the theme of the album.

My Chemical Romance on tour, wearing the clothes of The Black Parade

"Welcome to the Black Parade" was released as a single on September 11, 2006. On September 26, 2006, the music video for "Welcome to the Black Parade" was released in the UK, and on September 27 in the US. The single became the band's first number one on the UK Singles Chart in October 2006. The Black Parade was released on October 23, 2006 in the United Kingdom and on October 24, 2006 in the United States.

The Black Parade World Tour commenced on February 22, 2007, with the eventuating 133 shows featuring Rise Against, Thursday and Muse as support acts. Reggie and the Full Effect frontman James Dewees played keyboards/synth on the tour. In April 2007, it was announced that Mikey Way would temporarily leave the tour to spend time with his new wife, Alicia Simmons-Way. Mikey's temporary replacement was Matt Cortez, a friend of the band. During the third leg of the tour, as a support act for Muse, members of My Chemical Romance band and crew and members of Muse's crew suffered food poisoning, and consequently had to cancel six shows. The band later featured on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution tour in 2007, along with, Placebo, Mindless Self Indulgence, Saosin, Taking Back Sunday and HIM.

My Chemical Romance received mixed accolades for the third album. In Kerrang! magazine, issue 1139 The Black Parade was rated the fourth greatest album of 2006. In Rolling Stone magazine's ranking of the top 50 albums of 2006, The Black Parade was voted the 20th best album of the year. My Chemical Romance went on to win the award for Best International Band at the 2007 NME Awards and Gerard Way also won the Hero of the Year award. My Chemical Romance was also nominated for Best Alternative Group at the 2007 American Music Awards.

Most of the concerts of The Black Parade World Tour involved use of pyrotechnics, especially during “Mama” and “Famous Last Words”.

The band announced in a blog on their website that they would be going on a final tour in the United States before taking a break. At the same time, they announced they will be releasing a live DVD/CD collection titled The Black Parade Is Dead! which includes two concerts in October 2007, the final Black Parade concert in Mexico, and a small show at Maxwell's in New Jersey. The DVD/CD was meant to be released on June 24 in the United States and June 30 in the UK, but was postponed to July 1 because of a technical fault with the Mexico concert.

Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2009–present)

In 2009, My Chemical Romance released a new single entitled "Desolation Row" (a cover of the Bob Dylan song) on February 1, 2009. It was recorded to feature as the end credit track for the 2009 film Watchmen, an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. It was then announced by the band that they would be releasing "a collection of nine never-before-seen live videos, straight from the encore set of the Mexico City show from October 2007", entitled ¡Venganza!. The release was stored on a bullet-shaped flash drive and also contained exclusive photos of the band from the show. It was released on April 29, 2009.

On their website, on May 27, 2009, their web designer Jeff Watson announced that they were headed to the studio to record their fourth full-length album for the following few weeks with producer Brendan O'Brien, who has worked with AC/DC, Mastodon, and Pearl Jam.

In an interview with NME, Gerard Way said the band's next record would be a rock album, saying, "I think (the next album) will definitely be stripped down. I think the band misses being a rock band." In a separate interview with Idiomag, Way commented that the next release would be less theatrical in scope, stating that "it's not going to be hiding behind a veil of fiction or uniforms and makeup anymore." In an interview with PopEater, Way also stated that the next album will be "full of hate." He has also said "Over the years that we've been hearing ourselves live and hearing us on records, we kind of prefer the live. There's more of a garage feel and more energy. I'd like to capture some of that, finally. That's the goal for the next one."

On July 31 and August 1, 2009, My Chemical Romance played two "secret" shows at The Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, the shows being their first concert the band has played since Madison Square Garden, in May 2008. The band also premiered several new songs said to be from their upcoming fourth album during the shows, one reportedly titled "Death Before Disco", a song front-man Gerard Way has noted he is particularly excited about. The song has since been renamed "Party Poison" and will be included on the new album. Way explained further in a Rolling Stone interview that "It's a completely different sound for the band — it's like an anti-party song that you can party to. I can't wait for people to hear it. It brings back, lyrically, some of that wonderful fiction from the first album.

Gerard Way also said in a November 2009 interview with Rock Sound that the fourth album would be their defining work. "A friend who heard the record recently said he now had no interest in listening to our older work anymore, that we had made all our old material redundant. I took it as a compliment, the next thing you should always make the last thing seem unimportant and I think that will happen when we finally release this album."

On March 3, 2010, Iero announced on their official website that Bob Bryar had left the band. He wrote:

"As of 4 weeks ago, My Chemical Romance and Bob Bryar parted ways. This was a painful decision for all of us to make and was not taken lightly. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and expect you all to do the same."

The band did not state reasons on why he left.

In a March 2010 MTV interview with Gerard Way about the new album, the singer/songwriter explained, "There's no title yet...I'm actually kind of excited about that. It's kind of 'anything goes' at this point, but I'm so happy with the songs." Though the band has since decided on the title of their fourth album, it continued to go unannounced, with various rumors circulating and the band stating on their website that it will be revealed "all in due time." and in Gerard Way's words, "a special way this time. Maybe some sort of event, something fun, something soon."

By July, the recording of My Chemical Romance's fourth album had been finished, as confirmed by multiple band members. During the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Gerard Way announced that the band had finished recording the 4th studio album. This was later confirmed by Frank Iero on the band's official website, who officially announced, that the album is "done, finished, kaput, in the proverbial can, and being played loudly as we drive way too fast in our respective cars."

In September, a trailer video was uploaded to MCR's official YouTube page entitled Art is a Weapon and announced the title of the album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, which featured the band wearing strangely coloured outfits and battling unusual characters in a desert surrounding, and featuring a sample of music from the song "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)". Notable comic book author and the band's personal friend, Grant Morrison, makes a special appearance, in the role of an enemy and leader of a band of masked characters. On September 22, the band premiered their song "Na Na Na..." on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show, and Los Angeles-based radio station KROQ. The tracklisting was released on September 23 via the band's official website.

Rock Sound has had a preview of the album and gave a positive review, commenting "the way they’ve used everything they learned on ‘The Black Parade’ and tightened up in certain places feels natural and confident" and that it sees "the creativity of the band taking flight musically, graphically and literally."

My Chemical Romance has since been using Michael Pedicone as a touring drummer to replace the recently departed Bob Bryar.

During a performance at Wembley Arena on February 12, 2011, Gerard Way announced that the band will be appearing at a UK festival later this year.

Musical style and influences

The band during the Big Day Out in 2007 February

My Chemical Romance's general style has been categorized as "alternative rock", "post-hardcore", "punk revival", "pop punk" and, most controversially, "emo". The band's official website describes their music as simply "rock" or "violent, dangerous pop". Band frontman Gerard Way has publicly rejected the term "emo", describing the genre as "fucking garbage". However, Way has reportedly also described the band's style as "What-else-ya-got-emo".

Way said to Rolling Stone, "We love bands like Queen, where it's huge and majestic, but also bands like Black Flag and the Misfits, who would go absolutely crazy." Lead singer Gerard Way has stated that the band is heavily influenced by The Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Smiths/Morrisey. Way has also said that his band patterns their career after that of The Smashing Pumpkins, another band they admire.

Controversy and "emo" label

Singer/songwriter Gerard Way has previously stated that he strongly disagrees with the band's frequent classification of "emo", saying:

"Basically, it’s never been accurate to describe us. Emo bands were being booked while we were touring with Christian metal bands because no one would book us on tours. I think emo is F–ing garbage, it’s bulls–. I think there’s bands that unfortunately we get lumped in with that are considered emo and by default that starts to make us emo."

UK tabloid incident

On May 8, 2008, British tabloid The Sun published an article entitled "Suicide of Hannah, the Secret emo", which reported the death of a thirteen year-old British girl named Hannah Bond, who had hanged herself supposedly because of her involvement with a reported "self-harming 'emo' cult", which the newspaper directly associated with My Chemical Romance, and their then-current album The Black Parade, which was said to be linked to her suicide. In the article, coroner Roger Sykes expressed concern that Bond's "emo" lifestyle glamorized suicide, though he did not mention My Chemical Romance in the interview. Regardless, The Sun's article, and an article in NME about The Sun's article, had linked My Chemical Romance to the suicide, which caused outcry from the band's fanbase. Supporters of emo music contacted NME to defend the genre against accusations that it promotes suicide.

A group of British fans eventually planned a march across London in protest against the depiction of the band in the media. The march was expected to be held on May 31, beginning at Hyde Park's West Pond and ending outside the offices of tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail, which widely criticized My Chemical Romance and had published general pieces about the dangers of 'suicide cults'. The march was expected to attract 500-1000 protesters, according to the organizers. After concerns by police, the march was called off and instead about 100 fans congregated at Marble Arch and the band repeated the statement "fuck the Daily Mail" during their gigs in the United Kingdom.

The Daily Mail defended its position saying its coverage was "balanced, and restrained" and "in the public interest" and they were reporting genuine concerns raised by the coroner at the inquest and claim that their coverage of the incident has been misrepresented and confused with rumor. They state that their coverage of the coroner's remarks and the parents' comments was in common with that of other newspapers, and point to their publishing of readers letters defending the band and positive reviews of the band's albums and tours.


The band played in many major tours in 2005. The band toured with Green Day in 2005 on the Green Day Presents American Idiot Tour". They were also part of the Warped Tour in the same year. "For a lot of kids, it's the one thing they look forward to all year," said Gerard Way of the Warped Tour. "They save up for it. They get to see all the bands they like in one shot." Their set list included mostly songs from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.

They co-headlined the main stage with The Used on the Taste of Chaos tour before starting their own first headining tour, simply named the "My Chemical Romance Tour". The tour launched September 15 in Ohio, stopping at 30 locations in the U.S., to promote their album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Supporting were Alkaline Trio, and Reggie & The Full Effect. This tour marked the beginning of the heavy theatrics later showcased in any of their live shows. Gerard Way expressed his plans for the tour in an interview with MTV, "We'd talked about bringing out dancers for our headlining tour in the fall, but it's a big undertaking; you have to have a bus full of dancers. We've always wanted to do a big theatrical tour. But you have to do it in steps". The use of theatrics was evident in their future headlining tour, The Black Parade World Tour, which was to support their album of the same name. The tour featured 132 performances worldwide, featuring three legs in North America, one in Europe, Asia, and South America, and one internationally.

The band joined headliners Linkin Park on Projekt Revolution 2007, starting on July 25 and ending on September 3. The band played a one-hour set on center stage, opening with "This Is How I Disappear", as flames burst behind the band. The set ended with "Cancer", occasionally with falling confetti, and fireworks. A stream of controversial events occurred over the kiss Gerard Way and Frank Iero shared during a performance of "You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison" in San Bernardino on July 28. Following the Projekt Revolution tour, they opened for Bon Jovi in October, and then departed for a European Tour, with Mindless Self Indulgence.

On September 19, 2010, the band announced "The World Contamination Tour", so far taking place in parts of the UK, France, Amsterdam and Germany.

Mikey Way, bassist, dressed in his Black Parade uniform.

Band members

Current members

Frank Iero – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2002–present)
Ray Toro – lead guitar, backing vocals (2001–present)
Gerard Way – lead vocals (2001–present)
Mikey Way – bass guitar (2001–present)

Former members

Bob Bryar – drums (2004–2010)
Matt Pelissier – drums (2001–2004)
Touring members
James Dewees – keyboards, percussion, backing vocals (2007–present)
Michael Pedicone – drums (2010–present)


Post a Comment